What to do in Montréal this winter: 2024 couple’s edition

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard has been writing for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes for the media as well as for different companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and top places to be at, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.

This article was updated on November 23, 2023.

Winter in Montréal is all about sparkling snow and light, festive gatherings and spending time with the people you treasure. And we’ve prepared a special guide that’s filled with wellness activities and holiday fun that are relaxing and rejuvenating in equal measure. So how about a dreamy getaway for two against the luminous and sparkling backdrop of the city? Read on and plan your next adventure.

Old Port and Old Montréal

With its postcard-perfect setting, you’ll love the beautiful, snow-dusted streets of Old Montréal. Relax with a coffee in the sumptuous surroundings of Crew Collective & Café, located in the former Royal Bank of Canada building, and be dazzled by the historic architecture. Next, pick up some pastries, scones, soups and sandwiches to go from Olive + Gourmando, one of Old Montréal’s most wonderful restaurants. Back outside, browse designer fashions, curated multi-brand boutiques and tasteful art galleries along Saint-Paul StreetMaison Pepin and SSENSE are two amazing concept boutiques that offer an indelible a feast for the eyes.  Be sure to stop by Denis GagnonSarah Pacini and Philippe Dubuc: the crème de la crème of Québécois designers. You can also check out the new exhibitions on at the cutting-edge PHI Centre, visit the Pointe-à-Callière Archaeology and Museum Complex, fall under the spell of the AURA multimedia show at the Notre-Dame Basilica, created by renowned Montréal studio Moment Factory, and delve into the city’s past with our guide to Montréal's French roots.



In the Old Port, gaze out over the city from a gondola 60-metres up when you take a ride on the Grande Roue de Montréal, which promises a 28-kilometre view in clear skies. Tis the season to set your sights on new horizons! Back on ground, lace up your skates for a twirl around the outdoor skating rink in the Old Port, and be enchanted by the twinkling lights and music. In the mood for some “me” time? The chic Bota Bota floating spa, anchored in the St. Lawrence River, takes pampering to whole new levels with its restorative and reinvigorating water circuits; later, have lunch at La Traversée restaurant. The Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal is another superb option, offering you soothing treatments, sublime design and serenity in the same package.



Come cocktail hour, how about a glass of wine with dishes for two at the lovely Italian-style buvette Un po di Più (designed by Zébulon Perron), or in one of the neighbourhood’s hidden bars.  Be sure to make dinner reservations at one of the neighbourhood’s signature restaurants: Le SerpentMonarqueL'Auberge Saint-GabrielVieux-Port SteakhouseLe Club Chasse et Pêche Restaurant Bar Salon or Graziella. Take a peek at the menus of BabacoolBazartPincette, Buvette Pastek and Sauvage, brand-new hotspots where the on-trend crowd collects . For a truly winter experience, book one of the heated domes perched on the roof of the Hôtel William Gray hotel and savour exquisite culinary creations or a delicious brunch while enjoying a panoramic view of Place Jacques-Cartier, the St Lawrence River and the Grande Roue de Montréal. Or dance your evening away under the stars at Igloofest, back from January 18 to February 10, 2024, in a glittering and glacial setting.

Once the night revelry is over, tuck into bed at your hotel, a luxe cocoon amidst old stone walls. Enjoy the chic and cozy comforts of Hôtel William GrayHôtel GaultHôtel Place d’Armes or Le Petit Hôtel, some Old Montréal gems.


Downtown, Quartier des spectacles and the Village

Get your culture fix by reserving your tickets for exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the McCord Stewart Museum, the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Musée d’art contemporain. Check out the immersive experiences on current themes at OASIS immersion at the Palais des congrès de Montréal and the Société des arts technologiques. Be sure to pop by Place des Arts which features an exciting program of dance, theatre, opera and music this winter.

From February 22 to March 10, 2023, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will brighten the winter season and thrill foodies and culture lovers. Finally, beginner or experienced skaters alike can take a turn about the  refrigerated outdoor Esplanade Tranquille ice skating, free of charge, or indoors at the Atrium Le 1000 skating rink all year round!



Ready for some holiday shopping? Set your shopping radar to the renovated Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, and revel in the luxurious finds of this tony establishment. You can also duck in from the cold to the warmth of the underground pedestrian network and shop your way from the Centre EatonPlace Montréal TrustCours Mont-RoyalPlace Ville Marie to the Complexe Desjardins.

Feel like a bite to eat or a glass of wine? Indulge in the delectable menus at Renoir, the gorgeous interior of Bar George or Henri, the delicious French-style brasserie Le Pois Penché, or high above the city at the oh-so chic restaurant, Hiatus restaurant and bar (at the top of Place Ville Marie), at the trendy Time Out Market and the very refined JatobaRestaurant Toqué!Restaurant EuropeaNacaratMaison Boulud and Marcus. Finally, dine upon the boreal flavours imagined by Chef Xavier Dahan under the stars in a heated dome at the Refuges du Bivouac facing the Place des Festivals.


Quartiers du Canal and Pôle des Rapides

It’s time to head to Montréal’s very dynamic southwestern tip for a stroll not far from beautiful St. Lawrence River. Start your journey on the Promenade Wellington, a lively street in the borough of Verdun, voted “the world’s coolest street” by Time Out in 2022: a welcoming street in Verdun, which has oodles of good restaurants and best-kept secrets (though that’s changing fast). Be sure to stop by the magnificent Harricana par Mariouche atelier-boutique that pioneered recycled fur creations way back in 1983. Next, set out on your skis for a cross-country adventure that takes you nearly 20 kilometres on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Come in from the cold and pamper yourself with the steamy warmth and wellness treatments of Strøm spa nordique, a timeless and ultra-relaxing option.



More discoveries await at Les Quartiers du Canal, which are comprised of three historic Montréal neighbourhoods: Griffintown, Little Burgundy and Saint-Henri. What connects all three? Notre-Dame Street West, which is home to a plethora of excellent boutiques and restaurants. Our top picks include the delectable Vin PapillonLiverpool HouseJoe BeefLe RichmondPatrice PâtissierNora GrayCandideFoxy or Perles et Paddock. The Atwater Market is another unique meeting place, and its relaxed feel is just so conducive to enjoying a glass of hot mulled wine when it gets nippy. Even better, it becomes a veritable Christmas Village in late November: exactly what you need to get you in the holiday spirit.

Immerse yourself in even more culture at Arsenal, a private contemporary art centre in Griffintown, which regularly showcases extraordinary artwork and exhibits. An unforgettable art outing, guaranteed! Be sure to stop by 1700 La Poste, a contemporary art space inside a stone structure built in 1913 and inspired by the Beaux-Arts style. You will be dazzled.


Plateau, Mile-End and Outremont

With its charming (and sometimes impressive) houses and extra special vibe, these Montréal neighbourhoods are worth the detour. Linking all three is Mount Royal or the “lungs” of the city. From its summit you can soak in panoramic views of the city and get your fill of fresh air, while elsewhere you can go on guided snowshoe walks, enjoy 22 kilometres of cross-country skiing, skate around the free outdoor refrigerated ice rink, go tube sliding and so much more. It’s time to get outside and play!



Discover the Plateau’s bounty of urban visuals when you book a guided tour with Spade & Palacio. You’ll be smitten with their colourful and history-rich tour along Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Go ice skating among on the outdoor rink at Parc La Fontaine, which makes the experience even more magical with pine trees, cozy benches and twinkly lights. Window shop along Mont-Royal AvenueSaint-Denis Street and in the dynamic Mile End where cafés, trendy restaurants and chic designer boutiques await. For brunch, lunch, supper or even coffee to take out, you have an impressive list of places to choose from. Start with the AlmaBloomfieldRumiRouge GorgeOlimpicoLawrence (a very popular brunch spot), Fairmount Bagel Bakery or Buvette chez Simone. Let us know how it went!


Little Italy and Villeray

Take a stroll and see for yourself why the very hip Villeray was just recently named one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods by Time Out magazine. Discoveries include the sumptuous Jean-Talon Market, which is festooned in cheery lights during the holiday season. Grab a coffee and wander dreamily among colourful stands that will make you want to scoop up everything. Next, check out the recently revamped Plaza St-Hubert for its refreshing mix of on-trend and traditional boutiques that changes up the shopping experience. Be sure to stop by the Montreal Restaurant Plaza, a typically trend-setting Montréal brewery that offers delicious dinners for two. Those in the know know that Little Italy and Villeray has a bounty of culinary delights on tucked-away terraces. You’ll love restaurants like Vin Mon LapinPumpuiJ’ai FengImpastoLou (Gus),  Mesón and Tapeo. Next head to Taverne AtlanticVices&Versa and  of Bar Cicchetti, three sweet local hangouts. Call it a night with a leisurely stroll around the ice pond at Parc Jarry to digest your delicious meal, followed by a thrilling circus act at TOHU.


Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Est de l’Île

Go to the Space for Life’s newly renovated Biodôme for an mesmerizing trip through the ecosystems of the Americas that includes the tropical forest, Laurentian sugarbush, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador coasts and the subantarctic islands. If you have cross-country skiing equipment, the Botanical Garden offers three kilometres of groomed trails that connect to the trails in Parc Maisonneuve. Reward your effort with a bite to eat afterward at a neighbourhood restaurant like Les CanaillesHélicoptèreÉtat-MajorLe Flamant, the Heirloom pizzeria or take a tour of the delicious Maisonneuve Market.


Parc Jean-Drapeau

Straddling two islands in the St. Lawrence River, this magnificent park is just a five-minute jaunt from downtown. It gives sports enthusiasts, nature buffs and culture lovers 25 kilometres of multipurpose trails to explore. Come here to skate or go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or fatbiking. Wander to your heart’s content along paths dotted with some of the city’s most celebrated artworks, including Calder’s Man stabile. Also, download free podcast documentaries on the mobile app Portrait Sonore to learn more about 15 public artworks around Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame.


Around Montréal

Looking for a romantic getaway? Check out this post of the best spas, personalized tours or where to go to tap into Montréal’s creativity. With this curated list, you’ll also find restaurant suggestions for romantic dinners for two that go easy on your wallet. Lastly, to snap the prettiest pics of the city, check out the most Instagrammable spots here and here.

Happy winter discoveries to you and your sweetie!

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard has been writing for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes for the media as well as for different companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and top places to be at, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.

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